Hailing from South London 21 year old rapper Riodan has recently dropped a mixtape entitled ‘The Lost Struggle’. Using the story telling technique, Riodan paints the picture of some of the harsh realities in society, covering different aspects from drugs, the system, the police, love, hate, crime, poverty and more. We catch up with him to learn more about the inspiration behind the release and how through his music he seeks to shed light on struggles within the community.
Tell us a bit about your journey in Hip-Hop so far?
I’ve always been around music but back in the day I was shy when it came to rapping and I wasn’t that good I won’t lie, even though I thought I was. So, I built a studio and taught myself how to mix, master and record and started a little business. I worked with loads of up and coming rappers from South London in a studio in my garden shed and that helped me work on my craft. My family and friends pushed me to start releasing tunes, it made me want to put in more work, so started releasing more videos and music. I have been doing this for a time now, just got to keep putting the time in and see where it takes me.
Was there a particular event or person that inspired you to turn to rap?
I can’t say there’s one person or a defining moment that made me turn to rap but I do remember everyone was a rapper when I was growing up. My big sisters’ friends, my friends and my cousins, I think everyone in my area at one point had at least a couple bars just in case, in case of what I don’t know, but everyone was a rapper. So being around that energy growing up made me want to start rapping.
Hailing from South London, how did your environment influence the music you made?
Consciously or unconsciously it has influenced me enormously, that’s all I’ve known, so it certainly shaped me as a man and as a musician. You get to see the good the bad and the beautiful when you live the ‘struggle’ and South London showed me everything life has to throw at you. So as a musician I’ve used this to be able to speak the truths about life, not only for people from South London but for those who can relate.
You have just dropped a 10-track mixtape ‘Lost In the Struggle’, tell us a bit about how this came together?
Just before making this mixtape I felt like I needed a break from music, the hardest part for me when chasing the dream has been putting out music and no one hearing my work. So I felt like before I take that break let me make a tape that expresses how I feel and what I see and go through day in day out. I wanted to report live from the struggle, like a reporter you would see on the news but in a way that was real for my people, unfiltered and raw with the purpose of telling our side of the story. Creating a soundtrack for all aspects of the struggle the beauty and the hardship. We are all going through our own personal struggles so my hope with the mixtape was to be able to make every song relatable to people, creating quality sounding songs that were sonically and contextually hard. I’m not saying this mixtape is going to change the world but I hope I done something to let people know I can rap, make quality music and spread a message.
How important is it for you to use Hip-Hop to send a message?
Words are one of the most powerful weapons in this world and my way of sending a message is through music. What else can make people listen, dance, emotional and provoke thought all at the same time. Hip Hop especially allows me to be as authentic and unfiltered as I wish, meaning the message I want to spread is real. I feel like as long as your real and true to yourself when spreading a message people will feel it.
The storytelling technique on the mixtape is extremely powerful, are there any particular tracks off the mixtape which are close to your heart?
It sounds cliché but all the songs tell a story. I tried to tell a story on every track so everyone could at least relate to one. If I had to pick, I would say the ‘Lost in the struggle’, ‘Never Starve’ and the outro track ‘Is what it is’. These songs showcase me straight rapping from start to end, straight real rap, pure hard bars, so I was able to really express how I was feeling and tell a story more effectively.
The production on the Mixtape is extremely current and high quality, which producers did you work with on it and how would you define your sound?
I didn’t work specifically with any one producer but I did search, contact and listen to hundreds of producers and beats to find what I was looking for. The beat sometimes is more important than the lyrics as it reels the listener in and I just compliment it with the bars. So, every beat on there is of a particular importance. As for my sound I don’t really know how to define it I don’t mean to make another cliché statement, I don’t mean I sound completely new and different, I just mean that I can make a song of any style. Therefore, on the tape I tried to show versatility. I just make real music for real people.
The mixtape is timely, you speak about a lot of issues that have come to light with the current events. We live in a broken system, with police brutality, institutional racism and class wars. What do you feel are the kind of solutions we need that can fix it?
There is no simple solution to such a complex problem, so I would be lying if I said I know the exact way to fix it. With that being said we can’t ignore the ongoing problems that are being faced day in day out. These issues aren’t new but the system and institutions that continue to oppress have found ways of to try and disguise and down play the issues. Therefore, I believe we must continue to speak about these issues, continuing the uncomfortable conversations and speak our truth regardless of the consequences. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my mixtape and continue to do any chance I get to speak the truth and fight for change.
What is Riodan doing when he is not making music?
If I’m not making music, I’m watching sports or coaching it, I manage a local Sunday league football team trying to benefit the local community and If I’m not doing that, I’m with the family socialising, always got to put the family first for real I believe that’s important.
2020 has been a mad year, but big up for creating magic amongst the madness. What more can we expect from you in the near future?
Thank You, 2020 has been a mad year so far but regardless I’m going to continue to make music. I have music videos lined up for songs of the tape, as I push ‘Lost In the Struggle’ to get more exposure. On top of that I’ve got hundreds of bangers in the volt that I want the streets to hear.
Where can we follow you and keep up with your latest music?
You can follow me at Riodan100 on all socials and Riodan on YouTube to keep up with my music.